How To Keep Games Fresh
( Originally Published 1906 )
SUPPOSE you have all noticed those of you, that is, who are sensible enough to play games—that games are likely to " wear out." Really it is we that wear out, our interest in them being lost. And if one knows how to keep his interest in his sports perennial, he has one of the most important secrets of sane and health-giving amusement.
In the first place, don't make a hobby of any game. Be temperate in all things. Halma comes in, and at once halma is everywhere. We have halma parties, and progressive halma, and what not. Before long, halma is " played out" and thrown away, and a capital game, that should be a permanent possession of our recreation hours, has been spoiled for us. It's like eating candy. Some folks make them-selves sick on it, and never want to see a piece of candy again. That is as silly with games as with candy.
In the second place, know a large number of games, and mix them up. Learn chess, for your more thoughtful hours, when body and not brain is weary. Learn tiddledy-winks and crokinole, to play when brain is weary and you need a game that will not fatigue that castle of the nerves. Get a fund of word games—like lawyer, and proverbs, and logomachy, and spello, and progressive spelling, and anagrams, and how, where, and when, and beast, bird, and fish, and crambo, and capping verses—to play in the twilight. Get games for large parties and games for small groups, rollicking games and sedate games, games historical, biographical, classical, biblical, geographical, scientific, and nonsensical. Become a col-lector of games, a game student, and always be ready to bring forth from your treasury games new and old. Then games will not grow stale with you.
In the third place, be ingenious to invent variations of games. For instance, the interest in halma was indefinitely prolonged in my own household by instituting the change of placing all the men at the start in two facing phalanxes at the centre; checkers alternates in favor with pyramid checkers ; backgammon, with Russian backgammon ; and the like.
Fourthly, keep track of your games. Many a game drops out of our lives just because it has been forgotten. We play it at a friend's house and exclaim, " Why, I must get out my old set of dominoes ! I had forgotten it was such fun ! " Make a list of the games you have and know. Be zealous to enlarge the list. Keep the book handy for reference. I have indicated in a later chapter how you may classify your entries, as " Games for large parties," " Memory games," " Word games," " Catches," " Board games," and the like. This book you may call your recreation ledger, and it will mean for you and yours a growing balance in the Bank of Good Cheer.
And finally, but most important, keep your games fresh by bringing in fresh participants. A neighbor's family, invited over for the evening, will freshen up your games most delight-fully. A lonely young man, lost in the desert of a boarding-house, will revive your games and be himself revived. Games, like men, must not live to themselves or. to their owners.